A friend who is a Yale alumnus forwarded this to me, which he received from the university. Note the highlighted parts:
Dear Members of the Yale Community,
In the past week, many of you have written to us to express your support for two of Yale’s central values: respect for our diverse community and the freedom to speak and be heard. You have written as students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the university, in many cases to share personal struggles that stretch far before any of last week’s events, in other cases to stand by ideas that define the university’s mission, and in still others to do both. As we plan the next steps, we want you to know that you have our full attention and support.
We cannot overstate the importance we put on our community’s diversity, and the need to increase it, support it, and respect it. We know we have work to do, for example in increasing diversity in the faculty, and the initiatives announced last week move us closer toward that goal. At the same time, we are proud of the diversity on our campus and the vibrant communities at the Afro-Am House, the Asian American Cultural Center, La Casa Cultural, and the Native American Cultural Center. We are proud to support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, staff, and faculty. We are proud to support women. And we are proud to attract students and scholars from around the world, of all faiths and traditions, and with all levels of physical ability. We are committed to supporting all of these communities not only by attending to their safety and well-being but in the expectation that they will be treated with respect.
We also affirm Yale’s bedrock principle of the freedom to speak and be heard, without fear of intimidation, threats, or harm, and we renew our commitment to this freedom not as a special exception for unpopular or controversial ideas but for them especially. We expect thinkers, scholars, and speakers, whether they come from our community or as invited guests, to be treated with respect and in the expectation that they can speak their minds fully and openly. By preventing anyone from bringing ideas into the light of day, we deny a fundamental freedom — and rob ourselves of the right to engage with those ideas in a way that gets to the core of Yale’s educational mission. We make this expectation as a condition of belonging to or visiting our community.
Protest and counter-protest are woven into the warp and weft of the Yale that you see around you today, and we embrace the right of every member of this community to engage in protest. The news and social media have reported threats, coercion, and overtly disrespectful acts, and these actions have added to the distress in our community. They are unacceptable. But we have also seen affirming and effective forms of protest, most notably in Monday’s march for resilience, which brought together over 1,000 students, faculty, and administrators to show solidarity for students of color. Students are gathering to share thoughts and feelings in helpful and supportive ways, faculty are offering teach-ins, and those affiliated with the cultural houses are championing change in constructive ways.
Forty years ago, explosive debates about race and war divided Yale’s campus, and in response the university formed a core set of principles to support protest and counter-protest. Those principles, available in a document known as the Woodward Report, apply today just as they did then. C. Vann Woodward, who chaired the committee that produced the report, recognized that “It may sometimes be necessary in a university for civility and mutual respect to be superseded by the need to guarantee free expression,” but he also cautioned that, “The values superseded are nevertheless important, and every member of the university community should consider them in exercising the fundamental right to free expression.” We give the principles in this report our fullest support, and we urge you to read this document. You can find it here. As an institution of higher learning, we must protect the right to the free and open exchange of ideas – even those ideas with which we disagree. At the same time, we do this on a campus that values civility and respect. We do not believe these are necessarily mutually exclusive.
We are grateful for your questions, your involvement, and your engagement, and we renew our pledge to take further actions to improve the climate on campus and support and enhance diversity; we will share those steps with you before Thanksgiving.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Dean of Yale College
Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies
Well, let’s see. What has happened to Jerelyn Luther, the undergraduate who distinguished herself by berating her college master profanely and abusively in public? Here’s the video; be careful, though, her language is NSFW:
What limited information can be found about Luther, though, indicates a privileged background that makes her tirade against Christakis all the more baffling. Besides the obvious privilege inherent in being able to attend Yale, one of the world’s most elite (and expensive) universities, Luther also hails from the wealthy, low-crime city of Fairfield, Connecticut. Her family home isn’t luxurious but has an appraised value of more than $760,000. Her short profile at The Yale Globalist describes her as an avid traveler who wants to visit at least 3/4 of the world’s countries, a hobby that’s hardly available to the impoverished.
One of the most fascinating revelations regarding Luther’s identity, though, is the fact that she played a role in Christakis becoming master of Silliman College in the first place. In her tirade, Luther screams “Who the fu*k hired you?” at Christakis. But further research reveals that Luther actually served on the search committee that chose Christakis as the master of Silliman College. So, when Luther screams “who the fu*k hired you,” the answer is, in some part, herself.
Her tirade was absolutely revolting, and if Yale means what it told its alumni in that letter, it will require her to issue a public apology to Nicholas Christakis and to the Yale community, or it will expel her.
I believe nothing will happen to the foul-mouthed Jerelyn Luther. Nor do I believe anything will happen to the whineypants Jencey Paz, who advocated in the pages of the Yale Herald for Christakis to silence himself. “And I don’t want to debate,” she infamously said. “I want to talk about my pain.”
Has anyone from the university taken Jencey Paz aside and taught her that a Yale education entails “the right to the free and open exchange of ideas – even those ideas with which we disagree”? I’m not holding my breath.
The thing is, I don’t believe that Salovey and Holloway are being intentionally dishonest. I think they honestly believe that about the institution they lead. They are academics and administrators at one of the world’s greatest universities, heirs to the grand tradition of Western thought and education. They are not the kind of men who support censorship. Therefore, in their minds, they do not support censorship.
Except when it gets right down to it, they do. Watch especially what happens — or doesn’t happen — to Jerelyn Luther.
I would be very happy to be shown that I am wrong.
UPDATE: I didn’t realize when I posted that excerpt from the Daily Caller that it contained a link to her family’s home address. A reader just pointed that out in a Tweet, and I took out the link. I apologize for that; I should have checked more closely.
A libertarian friend DMs me on Twitter to say this post is “vicious” and that I should “accept victory.” In what sense did my side emerge victorious? I asked. She said that Yale affirms the 1974 Woodward Report defending freedom of expression, which is victory. I still don’t see it. The letter to alumni says that Yale upholds the value of “civility and respect.” It also says:
We expect thinkers, scholars, and speakers, whether they come from our community or as invited guests, to be treated with respect and in the expectation that they can speak their minds fully and openly. By preventing anyone from bringing ideas into the light of day, we deny a fundamental freedom — and rob ourselves of the right to engage with those ideas in a way that gets to the core of Yale’s educational mission. We make this expectation as a condition of belonging to or visiting our community.
In what sense is an undergraduate standing in a quad screaming at a professor to “shut up,” and cursing him an example of “civility and respect”? I don’t understand how real learning can take place if a student is at liberty to treat a professor with such shocking disrespect, in an attempt to silence him, and expect no sanction from the university. Which I doubt very much she will get (the Jencey Paz thing is just silly). Maybe this is the difference between conservatives and libertarians, but I think the basic order of a university requires students hierarchy, and students expected to behave with particular respect towards professors and administrators. If Jerelyn Luther gets away with this, particularly in light of the fact that Christakis humiliated himself by apologizing to the mob, it will give lie to Yale’s statement about the importance of civility and respect on campus.